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Bluebook Rules: Recent Updates

Bluebook Evolution

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Points to Remember

If you are using any version of the Bluebook, besides the 20th Edition, then be sure to check the Bluebook website and the reference chart for changes/updates to citation formats.

The 20th Edition Bluebook

Whenever the Bluebook is updated, the editors correct any errors that were found in previous editions and also update citation formats as it becomes neccessary over time. The 20th Edition Bluebook contains many of these updates. This LibGuide page gives a brief overview of some of the updates to the 20th Edition; but for a comprehensive look at all Bluebook 20th Edition updates see the Bluebook website

                                                                   

Bluebook Changes Chart

Inside of (Preface at page VII) each 20th Edition Bluebook, readers will find an overview that describes some of the major changes in the new edition. This chart is overviews those changes and is obtained from a compiled list of changes created by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.

Rule Change
1.4(e) Clarifies the order of authorities when federal and state legislative materials are cited together
1.5(b) Order of parentheticals has been changed to reflect the removal of the "internal quotation marks omitted" and "available at" parentheticals
3.2(b) Provides additional guidance for citing a range of pages and a single footnote within the range in the same citation
3.5 Provides guidance on naming conventions of subdivisions that are numbered or otherwise designated in a piece
5.2(d)(i) No longer requires indicating omission of internal quotation marks
10.2.1(f) Requires omission of all geographical terms that follow a comma
10.2.2 Clarifies that words in a case name that would be abbreviated according to table T6 should not be abbreviated if the words are part of a state, country, or other geographical unit that is the entire name of a party
10.9(a)(iii) Provides additional guidance on the formation of slip opinion short forms
11 Provides guidance on the citation of multiple amendments, sections within the same article, and clauses within the same section
12.9.4 Combines former rules 12.9.4 and 12.9.5, provides guidance on citing principles, and revises citation format of model codes, restatements, standards, and guidelines so that authorship of such materials is readily apparent
13.5 Clarifies what year should be cited when a debate occurs in a different year from publication in the Congressional Record 
14.2(b) Includes detailed information on citing comments to agencies
14.4 Provides detailed information on citing administrative sources found on commercial electronic databases
15.8(a) Provides updated citation formats for Ballentine's Law Dictionary and Black's Law Dictionary
15.9 Removes language that requires the use of "available at" in parallel citations
15.9(c) New rule introducing a citation format for ebooks, which stipulates that the print versions of books are authoritative, but ebooks may be cited if they are the sole media through which the book is available 
16.6(a) Requires that opinion pieces in newspapers be cited as "Opinion" rather than "Op-Ed"
16.6(f) Clarifies that online newspapers may be used in place of print newspapers and two sources may be used interchangeably if the online source is authenticated or official
18 No longer separately categorizes Internet citations as either direct or parallel; all citations are treated as direct
18.2.1(b)(ii) Provides for the direct citation of Internet sources that share the characteristics of a print source such that they can be fully cited according to another rule, whether or not the source is in print
18.2.1(d) Provides guidance on how to cite Internet sources using archival tools
18.2.2(a) Provides guidance on how to cite author information on social media platforms
18.2.2(b)(iii) Details how to cite titles for blogs contained within a larger website 
18.2.2(b)(v) Details how to cite titles for social media posts
18.3 Catalogs locations within The Bluebook that provide how to cite various sources found on commercial electronic databases
21 Includes new rules for citing materials from the International Monetary Fund and the International Criminal Court and has adopted simpler ways of citing United Nations documents
T1 Reflects the most current titles for the various statutory compilations, session laws, and administrative compilations and registers
T1.3 Now follows the abbreviation convention for jurisdiction names in the date of parenthetical cases
T2 Reflects changes in local law and legal citation
T13 Changed from an inclusive list of periodicals to a more general guide to abbreviating periodicals and prescribes abbreviating geographical terms according to T10.  Prescribes including the full word in a periodical title if that word is not included in T13.1, T13.2, or T10
T13.1 Contains abbreviations of common institutional names
T13.2 Lists common words in periodical titles
T6, T8, T14, T15 Terms have been added as appropriate

State Specific Changes

Many states also make changes to their citation rules with each new edition of the Bluebook. These changes usually occur in Table T1 and are included in the new 20th Edition. If you do not have access to a 20th Edition Bluebook then be sure to check this link for state-specific changes. 

800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271